Stay away from the moose at Regina's Wascana Lake, warns conservation officer

Just because a moose chose a Regina park as a place to take a dip, doesn't mean it is friendly with humans, according to wildlife experts who are warning the public to stay away from a moose at Wascana Lake.

A kayaker was filmed paddling behind the moose

A kayaker followed a moose swimming in Wascana Lake. Experts say people should stay away from moose in the city. 0:16

Just because a moose chose a Regina park as a place to take a dip, doesn't mean it is friendly with humans. 

That's the message from conservation officer Lindsey Leko, who is urging people to keep their distance from a moose that was seen swimming in Wascana Lake on Monday.  

Selfies, in particular, are a bad idea. 

"The last thing you'd want to be doing is getting yourself in a selfie with the moose and have it decide to take some action against you, so you're going to want to keep your distance," said Leko in an interview with CBC Radio's Afternoon Edition on Monday. 

Leko said there are several ways the moose could have made its way into the city park, possibly because there is "a lot of things that would make a moose happy in that area."

Big, wild and dangerous

He estimates the animal, which is believed to be a male aged between two and three years old, could weigh up to about 350 kilograms. 

Moose swimming in Regina's artificial lake on July 4 0:39

For that reason, Leko is stressing the importance of giving the moose plenty of space. 

"It's probably not used to humans and we've got to remember these things are wild animals and they are dangerous," he said.

"And of the big game animals in the province I would probably say it would be one of the most dangerous, so keep your distance and if the officers have to do some work on it, keep your distance and let them do it." 

Animals can suffer too

Wascana Centre Authority ecologist Sarah Turkeli told CBC Radio's Blue Sky that getting too close can also be dangerous for the animal. 

"You're constantly endangering the animal the closer you get, you know, quite a few animals can pass away just from stress, from stress from people constantly going to them," she said. 

"It's not super common but it does happen so you want to make sure that if you are paddling on the lake and you see the moose, please give it a good distance."

Responding to footage of a kayaker paddling behind the moose at Wascana Lake this week, she said approaching the animal was still dangerous on the water because they could charge unexpectedly. 

With files from CBC Radio's Afternoon Edition and Blue Sky